Fake It ’til You Make It (Ready or Not Book 1)
A fake date with the hottest man she’s ever seen—what could go wrong?
Tara’s ex-husband is a cheating dirtbag, but when he hits an all-time high on the douche-meter and invites her to his wedding, she can’t stomach the idea of showing up sans date. Everyone already thinks she’s a loser—why prove them right? Over a few too many margaritas, Tara hatches a brilliant scheme to show up with the hottest man she can find on her arm. She can make her ex jealous, show everyone she’s moved on then part ways with her fake-date. No fuss, no muss. What could possibly go wrong?
Unfortunately, her fake-boyfriend Chris turns out to be more than just a ridiculously pretty face. The man is hot enough to melt the panties off a saint, and when she discovers his humor—and the mind-blowing sex he offers—she starts playing jump rope with the line between real and fake.
What started out as an easy way to make her ex jealous quickly turns messy as Tara starts to catch some very real feelings. Will she try to transform the fake relationship into something real, or will she throw in the towel and accept it was all make-believe?
TWENTY QUESTIONS with exciting romance author, Jayce Carter
LAK: What advice would you give a new writer, someone just starting out?
JC: My advice for new writers is always the same: write. Write every day, if possible, no matter how little you complete. The act of writing, the process of turning it into a routine, is what keeps me from getting writer’s block. Writing is like any other craft, and the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Going to the gym once a month is difficult, but if you show up each day at six in the morning, it becomes so simple a routine you no longer question it.
LAK: What inspired you to start writing?
JC: I was always that weird kid who was more in their own imagination than they were with other kids. I was forever making up stories in my head, lost in a fantasy world, playing with imaginary friends. I recall my mom reading to my sister and me when we were children, and I always wanted her to read the poem, The Highwayman. Now, as a parent, I wondered why the hell my mother would read that to a six-year-old, but back then? I loved it. A story of sacrifice, of love, of tragedy. That poem was a large reason why I went beyond daydreaming to actually forming those things into stories because I remembered how I felt huddled under the blankets wishing The Highwayman would make it the next time, as though the story might change, and I realized how a story could stick with someone forever. To this day, my heart beats a little faster when I hear the lines from that poem.
LAK: What is your work schedule like when you are writing?
JC: I have ADHD, which means distraction is a huge enemy of mine. Even if I move everything, even if I go into my office and close the door, I can easily find myself trying to count freckles instead of working. While eliminating distractions help, I’ve found using a Pomodoro method to be invaluable! I use a timer for 25 minutes, along with background music and ticking. At the end of 25 minutes, I get a 5-minute break before I repeat the process. This helps me to focus for that 25 minutes because I know at the end of it, I have a break.
LAK: What are the tools of the trade?
JC: My freewrite named Bob, a notebook to write down reminders for changes as I go, music (I am partial to Nordic music when writing), and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee!
LAK: How do you deal with poor reviews?
JC: This is a tough but important topic! First, I try to take in anything that can help me grow in future books. However, I also have to remember that I can’t please everyone. There is no book that will make 100% of readers happy because we all want different things. There are some people who will never enjoy my books, and that’s okay. Neither of us is wrong. They are simply the wrong audience for my work, and my work is the wrong book for them. This is one of the hardest truths to accept as a writer, that no matter how good a book is, no matter how much you work on it, it will never please everyone. Recognizing that is freeing in a pretty wonderful way, though.
LAK: Describe your perfect book hero.
JC: I have a thing for asshole alphas. It’s probably good I’m not actively dating, or I am pretty sure I’d pick all the wrong men. However, in fiction, it works! I love men who are arrogant, who are growly and grumpy and not always nice. Give me men with bad pasts who have written off love, and I will be there all day long to see them twisted into knots by a woman they never saw coming! To me, there is nothing better than watching those tough men with all their walls brought to their knees by a woman.
LAK: How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
JC: I have five books currently out with another three releasing soon. My favorite is probably Blackmailed by the Alphas, one of those not out yet. The female main character, Kara, is feisty and difficult and snarky, which are traits I love, yet has a softer side she hides. I love that she can go toe to toe with the alphas in the story, that no matter how big their personalities are, she never gets overshadowed by them!
LAK: Tell us about your first published book? What was the journey like?
JC: My first published book was Owned by the Alphas, a reverse harem Omegaverse novel. The actual submitting process went very fast, which is unusual! I got a response only two weeks or so after querying, and from the only place I had sent it to. Going through the editing process was a learning curve, and what surprised me the most was all the waiting! There are so many moving parts that all need to come together from different departments (editing, cover art, formatting, all the paperwork to distribute it). I’ve had to learn a lot more patience!
LAK: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
JC: Honestly? I still don’t a lot of the time! That damned imposter syndrome. I’m not sure I’ll ever quite think of myself as a writer, but I have gotten to the point where I’ll say it. That was special, the first time someone asked what I do, and I responded with, “I’m an author.” It was freeing to come right out and claim it. Don’t get me wrong, there was some stuttering, and a quiet prayer that they wouldn’t ask too many follow-up questions, but each time I say it, it becomes a little easier.
LAK: Are you on social media, and can your readers interact with you?
JC: Yes! I am active on social media, both on Instagram and Facebook. In addition to my writer’s page, I spend quite a bit of time in different groups on Facebook as well, because I love to interact with readers!
LAK: Describe your writing space.
JC: My space is wherever I happen to be at the time. I have a small desk set up, but I often don’t work there. I will sit on the couch, or when I need some fresh air, I’ll write on my back porch. I’ll write while my kids play at the park or while I wait to pick them up from school. Basically? My writing space is wherever I happen to be at the moment! A good change of scenery always helps me to crank out a few more words.
LAK: What time of the day do you usually write?
JC: I write throughout the day, but my favorite and most productive time is early in the morning before anyone else is awake. I have two children who constantly need things and a husband who also constantly needs things. I love to wake up around five and get in a few hours of work before anyone else wakes, while the house is quiet, and the sun is just rising. Just me, my freewrite, and my coffee.
LAK: Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? If so, why?
JC: I really resonate with the main female character, Tara. She has a lot of self-doubt, and I think that’s something most women can relate to. She doesn’t think she is pretty enough, skinny enough, or good enough. That’s a feeling I understand, and it was wonderful to write about her journey, about how she learned her own worth.
LAK: What is the future for the characters? Will there be a sequel?
JC: This is the last for these characters. However, there will be sequels in the series! The entire series, called Ready or Not, is about characters who are not looking for love. These are people who want nothing to do with the entire idea, but as we all know, life doesn’t usually go the way we plan. I really enjoy reluctantly falling in love stories, where the characters fight tooth and nail against giving in. Maybe it’s the rebel in me.
LAK: What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book?
JC: Humor! While people often laugh—whether at me or with me, I’m never quite sure—this was my first time writing both a contemporary story and one with more humor. Humor is an unruly beast all it’s own and walking that line between funny and too much isn’t an easy task. I was constantly checking to see if it was dull, funny, or too-much. Did I hit the right mark? I guess we’ll see!
LAK: How many plot ideas are just waiting to be written? Can you tell us about one?
JC: I am someone with far too many plot ideas! I already have enough planned to have a release almost every month this year. My biggest stress most of the time isn’t that I’ll run out of ideas, but that I know I’ll never be able to write them all! I can tell you about a future one for this series. It’s going to revolve around a very regimented girl who likes everything in her life to have a place. After years of living quietly in her side of a duplex, a new neighbor moves in. It only takes one look at the tattooed neighbor getting off his motorcycle for her to realize her perfectly organized life is about to be shaken up.
LAK: Do you have any new series planned?
JC: I do! In addition to the future releases for The Omega’s Alphas series and Ready or not, I plan to start a new series. I want to write another reverse harem series, but this time focusing on a single female main character through multiple books. It will be paranormal and have more humor than my Alphas series has. I am really excited to branch out and plan to write it in the first person, as well!
LAK: Do you have a library membership?
JC: I have a few of them! Both city and county libraries and I love to go there. There is something almost spiritual about a library for me. The books, the soft hum of the ACs, the clicks of people on the computers. I have two young children, as well, so we spend many of our summer days at the libraries around us.
LAK: Favorite book when you were a kid?
JC: I already mentioned The Highway Man, so I’ll say The Time Ships by Stephen Baxter. I’ve always loved SciFi, and that book has always shown me the amazing places that genre can take a person. I loved the take on an old tale and the mix of hard SciFi concepts with social commentary. While I didn’t understand it all when I first read it as a kid, the fantastic world Stephen Baxter created has always stuck with me.
LAK: How many bookshelves are in your house?
JC: I will admit something horrible and say I have only a few actual books in my house. I used to have a house full, which happened from working at Borders for years, where I always took home ARCs and anything on clearance that looked good. However, when we downsized and moved into a smaller home, I’ve changed to having everything on my kindle. This gives me access to all my most beloved books in a single place, and while I miss the good old smell of books, I do love the convenience of ebooks.
Other works by Jayce Carter:
My other series is called The Omega’s Alphas, which is a reverse harem Omegaverse series! It is made up of stand-alone books, so each one follows a different female omega and the three alphas who have to try and win her. This series is not for the squeamish about sex. It is very steamy, so I wouldn’t suggest anyone read it in pubic unless they have an amazing poker face. Plus, they are all free on KindleUnlimited! Another three novels and three novellas will be released this year for the series.